November 2018

My local sailing club‘s racing season ended in October but sailing continues. It’s time for frostbiting!

I’ve had my drysuit repaired and bought some new Rooster kit in preparation for the cold, also being a wiser and more cautious sailor I went for a red spray top and red buoyancy aid. It would be foolish not be visible.

Rooster’s layers system is terrific and I’m also using the gear for sea swimming. It’s a significant upgrade over my old now falling apart wetsuit and tired Gill PolyPro™ base layer. I truly love the Rooster Thermoflex and PolyPro™ layers.

My last weeks of sailing have all been about practising; the beat, gybing, spinnaker work, tacking and generally making the boat go! On my own – since it’s an old boat – , I only go out in force 3-4 which is fine to practise at slower more controlled speeds, though it’s fun to push it a bit when more of us go out.

The video above was in slightly breezier conditions. I’m discovering that the key to making it work in stronger winds is (simply and not surprisingly) to keep the boat dead flat and well trimmed at all times, and convert the wind energy to boat speed as quickly as possible. The faster the boat, the more stable and easier to keep upright, you just have to go with it. Any heel slows the boat considerably adding more pressure to the rig.

Gybing seems easier at higher speeds – broad reach to broad reach – but it takes concentration to c0ordinate properly. After a while on the water, if I’m tired that’s where it fails.

I’m also finding that clothing is super important in being and feeling connected to the boat. I was wearing Rooster hiking pads in the session above which reduced my connection the boat and made me more unstable downwind. I’ll give them another go but perhaps the Vareo doesn’t need them, the boat isn’t really uncomfortable.

Something’s working anyway, I’m pointing better, keeping the boat flatter, sailing faster and managing higher winds more easily. 🙂

A more peaceful day

Commodores Cup Sept 15th 2018

Yesterday I sailed the Commodores Cup Race, a handicap race around Peveril Ledge Buoy in RS Vareo 239 in testing conditions.

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I’d got the hang of the conditions – which saw winds increasing with more chop on the tidal race – by the third lap, but by then battery had died. Getting the kite up on the first lap was a mistake :). Live and learn.

The camera is an Akasao EK7000 at 720p and the battery lasted about 42 minutes. If you live in East Dorset check out Swanage Sailing Club which has excellent dinghy sailing.

June / July 2018 Sailing

I had a rather dramatic equipment failure in my RS Vareo during a windy race mid June with my boom snapping in half. It was corroded around mainsheet pulley clip in any case, the kicker was too loose, a gust must have pulled the boom out of the gooseneck, it hit the hull and snapped. Fortunately a safety boat was close by to get me back and the sail was ok.

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I borrowed a boom till the new one was sorted out then got back into the groove, with some success; third and fourth in two cup races. The third position race was a really light wind day and valuable lessons were learned about finding clean air and good practice was had of minimising body movements and rudder. Continue reading “June / July 2018 Sailing”

Coaching Session

I was fortunate to have a coaching session with Sam Whaley, British Sailing Team member this week. It was an enlightening experience and looking at my notes, I have a lot to work on and practise which is great. Thanks Sam.

I also used my new action camera for the first time, an Akaso EK7000. The recording (clips above) was at 1080p (60FPS), it stored two files; 4.6GB 25 mins, and 3.5GB 21 mins, the battery died after 46 minutes and some condensation appeared on the inside of the waterproof casing. This disappeared quickly on opening the case.

I think it’d make sense to dry the camera on a sunny window sill before using for the first time to clear out any residual moisture. For the money I think it’s fine.

RS Vareo Sailing Spring 2018

Looking back (and #) to this time last year it looks like there wasn’t much wind on the days I went out and I was often looking forward to stronger winds.

2018 has been better or perhaps I’ve just been out more and I have some observations and learnings after my first full year of RS Vareo sailing.

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Continue reading “RS Vareo Sailing Spring 2018”